Category: Politics

CulturePolitics

Expat or immigrant?

I love meeting new people along my journey, the kind that, due to their intelligence and awareness, cause me to question my assumptions about the world and the daily habits I take for granted.

Such was the case this week when I had the opportunity to meet and spend time with an extraordinary young woman who was visiting my closest friend here in Colombia. This young woman studied and lived abroad and now runs an NGO in Mexico City (which she founded) called “Ollin,” which roughly translates to Youth in Movement.

During one of our discussions on international issues, she casually asked if I would describe myself as an expat or an immigrant.

Hum, I thought, as conflicting thoughts raced through my mind. This is a quandary. Based on my current status here in Colombia, how would I label myself?

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CulturePolitics

Follow-up Story: Guns and American Exceptionalism

Follow-up story

https://myquest.blog/2018/02/18/guns-and-american-exceptionalism/

I was shocked to just find a blog posting entitled “How to Survive a Mass Shooting”, a full-on technical combat guide for American citizens. It’s professionally put together to sell the idea to buyers who seemed to be flocking to the post.

After describing some basic combat training techniques, the guide ends with the following:

“Stay vigilant, maintain situational awareness at all times, plan for the worst, and stay survival fit – body and mind!!!”

It’s a soldiers guide

[I WILL NOT provide a link to this!]

Is this really where we are in American society? I’m not surprised that it looks more and more like the USA is entering another period of civil warfare, but I am shocked that its happening sooner than I predicted.

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CulturePolitics

Guns and American Exceptionalism

“17 left dead in 6 short minutes of terror” read the latest headline!

The merchants of death and their cult of gun owners is still marching triumphantly in the aftermath of yet another mass killing spree at an American school.

As usual, there are only a few lone voices crying in the wilderness, demanding the US government take measures to stop the slaughter of innocents.

Do that many Americans really feel that the right to have unrestricted freedom to own and carry military-grade automatic weapons is more important than the safety of the people they love the most? Because, I’m sorry, that’s the way it looks to the rest of the world at the moment.

People from Australia, a country that changed gun ownership laws in response to mass shootings there, are quick to point out that their sensible laws have stopped this sort of mass bloodshed from happening on Australian soil.

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Human RightsPolitics

Standing Up for Palestinians

This is not an article arguing the pros and cons of the State of Israel’s right to defend itself against outside enemies that might want to do it or its people harm. Nor am I writing this to plead for or against the US Government’s decision to recognize the whole city of Jerusalem as the legitimate capital of Israel. And, I’m certainly not going to pontificate that I have a solution to problems of coexistence in that region of the Middle East that date back millennia.

This is, however, a plea for the American people to speak out and demand that the US Government continue providing humanitarian aid for the neediest Palestinians at a time when the world is definitely paying attention and questioning almost every aspect of American leadership.

In case you haven’t heard or read about it, here’s what I’m referring to:

The US Government is withholding humanitarian aid to more than 5 million Palestinians across the Middle East as leverage to force the Palestinian Authority into a new round of peace talks.

The aid money–$355 million in 2017—is for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), one of the largest organizations providing funds for services and infrastructure to Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

While sitting opposite Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week, US President Trump proclaimed, “That money is on the table and that money’s not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace.”

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Politics

Being Politically Correct vs Showing Humanity

On Thursday, during a meeting of US Senators from both sides of the aisle who had assembled at the White House to discuss immigration reform, Donald Trump is reported to have labeled African countries (in general) as ‘shitholes’. It isn’t clear what he truly thinks of Haiti, El Salvador and Honduras, which were also being discussed at the time.
Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ) have voiced their disdain for the damage Trump’s words have caused to the world’s view of “American ideals and patriotism”. Why are these the lone voices of dissent within the President’s party?

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EnvironmentPolitics

A new Dark Age in America

By further revealing his administration’s incredibly backward looking energy policy, Donald Trump has once again made it clear that he’s only concerned about maintaining the status quo. In an effort to cement wealth in the hands of an elite few, he and his minions are seeking to give away even more taxpayer dollars to the corporate robber barons, especially in the field of energy.

Troglodytes like Trump still seem stuck in the Iron Age while many of the USA’s largest and most profitable industries have radically changed…

Antiquated policies that reward and support the oil, gas and dirty-burning coal industries at the expense of emerging energy-producing technologies will, over the long term, create fewer American jobs, make the US more energy-dependent and continue contributing to the warming of a planet that’s seriously close to its ecological tipping point.

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Politics

The Kurd’s Destiny

Iraq in the summer is a true broiler, although not necessarily more so than what I’d left behind in Oman. Here however, the lack of a reliable supply of electricity meant daily intermittent power cuts while the university electricians transferred to an alternate grid provided by immense electrical generators that sat just inside the blast walls behind the main university administration building. During these transition periods, we would all—teachers and students alike–perspire profusely inside the suffocating space created by the sheet-metal walls of our prefab classrooms. These blackouts were random and could come at any time in any part of the city and eventually became just another routine part of daily life in Iraq.

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